Davis Cup: Kazakhstan wins doubles to lead Argentina 2-1

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Timur Khabibulin and Alexander Nedovesov of Kazakhstan have Argentina on the verge of defeat. (AP)

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Kazakhstan is on the verge of sending last year's Davis Cup champion Argentina out of the top-tier World Group after winning Saturday's doubles rubber.

Timur Khabibulin and Alexander Nedovesov recovered from losing the first set to beat Argentina's Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in just under 3 1 /2 hours.

That gives Kazakhstan a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five match.

Sunday's first reverse singles pits together each team's top-ranked player, with Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan playing Argentina's Diego Schwartzman.

Dmitry Popko plays Guido Pella in the final rubber.

Argentina is trying to avoid dropping out of the World Group for the first time since 2001. Kazakhstan is bidding for an immediate return to the top level following relegation last year.

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